Believe, Or Anything By The Pet Shop Boys.

Last June, for Pride Month, country singer Jake Owen googled gayest songs of all time, and he got . . . Cher. Specifically, he got her classic hit song from 1999 Believe.

He recorded a country version of Believe, writing on his website: “I believe #loveislove. Some of my closest friends and coworkers are part of the #lgbt community and I couldn’t be more happy for the progress they have made.”

 Watch: Jake Owen Marks Pride Month With Cover of Cher’s ‘Believe’

This is where me, a couple glasses of pinot grigio, and a few minutes of unsupervised activity come into play. I liked what I heard of Jake Owen’s cover so, one night shortly after cocktail hour, I went to my computer and I googled jake owen tour and bought a ticket to see him in concert Atlantic City in September.

P.S. : I am not a country music fan.

And then September rolled around, and Top Cat and I go to Atlantic City, and while he heads to the poker room at The Borgata,  I take my seat #16 in Row E at Ovation Hall in the Ocean Casino Resort. I have low expectations.

P.S.: Even though this took place in New Jersey, there are plenty of cowboy hats and boots in this Saturday night crowd. I am not a fan of country music fashions.

And then Jake Owen walks on stage. First of all, I thought Jake Owen looked like this:

Typical country singer. I don’t like the hair.

In fact, Jake Owens looks like this:

He is, in fact, gorgeous.

LOVE the hair. The turquoise suit with sequins is, I’m pretty sure, ironic.

And there I am, in the fifth row from the stage, dead center, and he is Right. There.

He does Believe half way through the two-hour show, and then he does a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Atlantic City,  and they are the only two songs that I know.

I must say, it was a delightful concert and at the end, after he’d done a few encores including a cover of Snoop Dogg’s absolutely filthy hit from 1998, Gin and Juice (Jake Owens said that it was his favorite song in high school. P. S.: I was 42 in 1998), the young couple next to me asked, “Did you like the show?”

I said, “Oh, yes! I think he’s fantastic!”

The guy, who looked as if he was born in 1998, asked me, “So, are you a Jake Owens fan?”

I said, “Not at all — I didn’t know any of his music until tonight.”

He and his girlfriend looked puzzled, and she asked me, “Then why did you get a ticket to the show?”

(When you are buying tickets for a party of one, it’s rather easy to get a good seat. There was one single place left in this primo row.)

To answer her question, I lied through my teeth and said, “I like to try new things.”

We all know that I never like to try new things. I like routine and no surprises and staying nice and cozy well within my comfort zone. But in this case I am very glad that I went to  a country music concert by myself on the last Saturday night of Summer 2019.  Hoo boy, I love country music. As long as it’s by Jake Owens.

Happily, because Top Cat and I are Booming through our sixties, we were home from Atlantic City by Sunday afternoon so we could sit in our backyard and sip wine on the Final Summer Evening, with a few of our favorite drinking buddies:

As I was taking this photo I noticed something on the grass by Taffy’s back foot!

The final Found Treasure of the Summer of 2019!

We did not expect that Lickety would make it all the way through the Summer of 2019 but lo, he’s still here, and we make sure he gets loved every single day.

And then it was Monday and we woke up to Fall, although it was 90 degrees here on the north shore of Long Island and so, so far, Fall has been non-traumatic.

Friday, September 28 is when I install my Haunted Bookshop at the Bryant Library, the first Halloween decoration of the season here on the north shore of Long Island, and today I am going to give you a preview of a few pieces:


I cut out a shadow box on the cover, on the left, but it does not photograph well. I tried to tell a story in the shadowbox, about fleeing a haunted grave site with a mysterious staircase…the other side is just a collage of weirdness. I wanted to leave the title, Tales of Edgar Allen Poe, visible but if I have time, I’m going to knife it up some more.

To tell the truth, “scary” is not what I like to do. I prefer “enigmatic“.

I like it when something looks as if it is about something, but that something is mis-translated, or coming in at an unknown frequency, or seems to shimmer between meaning something and meaning nothing. (Joseph Cornell’s boxes and Richard Diebenkorn’s abstract paintings do that for me.).

And then I got me some Mod Podge and I Mod Podged a Book Club edition of The Gulag Archipelago (1974, 704 pages):

Having Mod Podged the outer pages, the book was solid enough for me to excavate its guts to make a shadow box:

Building from the back of the shadow box, I started to add layers:

There are seven layers in this shadow box college, not counting the butterflies, which are on four layers of their own:

I wonder if there will be butterflies 50 years from now. If miracles happen, and the climate catastrophe is only half as bad as it is now inevitable, and butterflies and polar bears still co-exisit on our planet, we will have the first President of the World to thank:

Greta Thunberg is my hero. In 50 years, I hope she is in charge of everything, and I hope that the word “trump” will have become the common generic term for “what a loaf of crap” in every language on the planet.

As in, “Damn, I just stepped into some trump and ruined my new shoes.”

As in, “Something stinks in here — who forgot to take out the trump?’

As in, “I was so drunk last night that I trumped my pants.”


By now you are probably thinking to yourself, Yadda Yadda Yadda this is all about you, Vivian, but what has The Stromness Rock been up to?

Well, of all things, I almost crossed paths with The Stromness Rock because of all places, The Rock has been to New Jersey!

Dear Reader Carol took The Rock to see famous author Alice Hoffman at the Tom’s River branch of the Ocean County Library:

The Rock even got to ask Ms. Hoffman a question about its favorite book, The Marriage of Opposites!

The Rock was temporarily installed at this statue at the Ocean County Library:

The Rock knows a great PhotoOp when it sees it.

This is the one and only Jersey Shore (Long Beach Island):

If you know your Frankie Valli, you know Barnegat Beach. Here’s the Barnegat lighthouse:

If you can’t spot The Rock, scroll below.

Dedicated to lighthouse keepers everywhere:

And on to the Delaware River, where floats the world’s oldest and only in-tact square-rigged sailing vessel, the 1904 Moshulu. Having sailed around the world, the Moshulu is now a restaurant anchored at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia:

Sunset cruise with the Philadelphia skyline:

I do love a skyline.

But, saving the best for last:

Presenting Benjamin Bunny, in person.

Can’t you hear The Rock’s purr?

See how I did that? I arranged for us to end today’s meeting of the minds with a photo of Carol’s Benjamin Bunny (those pink ears!) so we can dwell, for a moment or two, out of this world and inside this heart-warming/mind-soothing image of purity and loveliness.

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. The truth will set us free, no matter whatever trump the Republicans will throw at us.


11 Comments, RSS

  1. Megan

    Serendipity is all I can add. So glad you had a new experience that you enjoyed so much. Love the book art you have excelled yourself. Great to catch up with the Stromness Rock on it’s adventures meeting interesting people and going to interesting places. Lovely to see Taffy and Lickety enjoying the late summer early autumn weather and that gorgeous green grass. Enjoy your week and how weird my comment sent when it was a stupid google search, have no idea what happened there, haven;t managed to post a comment for months. Heartfelt apologies.

  2. barbara d.

    Oh Vivian…I just love your sense of humor and your take on life. Going to start using your new word…trump…in all the appropriate moments of my conversations. What fun this will be! And go GRETA!

  3. Sandra

    Another wonderful post – hit all the right notes for me today.

    Yes, Jake is handsome, but what about that suit? Would you be willing to change your fashion sense for the love of this country boy?

  4. Casey

    A country version of Believe, well well well. If I didn’t hear it with my own ears, I wouldn’t have believed it possible, but it doesn’t sound half bad. Yes, he’s cute alright. Was he wearing turquoise cowboy boots too?

    Glad to see that Lickety is still enjoying his summer days. September is a summer month, we forget, and it can be the loveliest summer month of them all.

    I wish I lived near your library, I want to see your haunted bookshop, maybe check out a volume or two? Your art is very radical and haunting. Do you give each book their own title? Different from what is printed on the spine, I mean. I am still thinking about what you wrote about enigmatic art. I’m going to check out Diebenkorn.

    I laughed at, “I was so drunk that I trumped my pants.” Love it. I needed to start the day with a chuckle.

    Nice pictures Carol! I love Alice Hoffman, lucky rock! And you were so right to leave us with Benjamin Bunny. He looks like a piece of candy, only he’s soft and pure.

    Sandra’s so right. This visit with you hit all the right notes today. I’m going to go get another cup of teamed read this all over again.

  5. So much to love here, Vivian! One thing to love is that the rock is one step closer to Michigan! Great photos — the bar has been raised! And, that Lickety is still sucking up all that love. And that you have created some really fabulous pieces for the library. And, I hope, one day, a book. Honestly, Vivian, is there anything you can’t do? Love the shadow boxes.It’s that beautiful and well done but really creepy and yes, enigmatic. I love them all.

    And yes, there is a new word in the lexicon. I love it. Fasten your seat belt — it’s going to be a bumpy, trumpy ride!

  6. I swear I have trump for brains this week. I wrote a comment. A nice, really good comment that I don’t think I ever sent because we were rushing and I think I turned the computer off. DUH.

    Well, I love your new adjective/noun, Quite perfect. It’s already in use in our house — in which a plunger was involved because someone — not me — engaged in a tad too much trumping.

    On a better note, I’m so happy LIckety is still hanging in there getting all his love. And I’m wild about the shadow box books. They’re so perfect for your library theme. At times like this I wish I lived on Long Island so I could pop into the library and ooh and ah over the castles and now books. I hope you’re putting out a press release and inviting your publisher.

    Eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Stromness but no way I can compete with Alice Hoffman!

  7. Carol

    Love your kitty pictures, especially sweet Lickety! I enjoyed having The Rock, looking forward to its further adventures!
    My sweet Benjamin Bunny has settled in and is busy annoying the big boy cats.

  8. I have never heard of Jake Owens but I love his suit! Not sure I’d wear it myself, but it works for him. It’s amazing how country music (like the country itself) has generally liberalized about LGBT issues in recent years. I never thought I’d hear a country singer praising the LGBT community.

    Love the book art — especially the carved-up Gulag Archipelago. (Has a longer, grayer book ever been written?)

    Glad to see Lickety is still with us, and looking quite contented!

  9. Lolo

    Jeanie’s got me laughing, about her plumbing problems due to someone’s excessive trumping. I love it. I will try to use “trump” in that sense five times today.

    More book art, please. Don’t know Jake Owen but he looks mighty fine in a sequined turquoise suit and there’s not a lot of men who could pull that off.

    Heart. Be. Still. Benjamin Bunny (no disrespect to Taffy and Lickety), you complete me.

  10. Love that you went to that concert not even knowing most of the music, but still enjoying it.
    I did pretty much the same, as someone gave me tickets to hear someone I had not heard of and it was good.
    I guess we need to still be open to hearing new music.
    Loved the meme’s on trump. Greta would be a good world president, which is exactly where we need to go.
    So nice to see the rock and it’s adventures.

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